water softener

After only 22 years, it looks like the water softener has died. The SO got
an estimate from Kinetico $3000. NFW! At the same time, I see really cheap
ones at Menards, probably won't last.
Anyway, I'm looking for a middle size capacity standard resin system water
softener with good value. Suggestions?
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
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It's a rathole...I priced out several options and went with an inexpensive and quite possibly also cheap (in the unflattering way) GE unit. The internaut abounds with expensive options that think they are cheap because they are less than what local plumbers are overcharging.
Water softeners certainly appear to be one of those realms where soaking the customer is the order of the day, because the average customer regards water softening as some sort of black magic, and is therefore susceptible to meaningless mumbo-jumbo. Toss in fear of plumbing and you have victims ripe for the plucking.
I ultimately decided that all their hype smelled foul. When this one dies I'll evaluate where we got to with it. It certainly uses less water and salt than the old dinosaur did. But it if only lives to the end of its warrantee (overpriced or hard-to-get repair parts are a reported downside), it will still take several units to add up to the cheapest thing on the web water softener floggers' sites, and twice that to get to the local plumbers' / treatment companies' pricing. Since the longest warrantee from any of them is only two of the warrantee from the el cheapo option, I'll take my chances with needing to swap out a unit from time to time.
Reply to
Ecnerwal
I've always had good results with the Sears Kenmore units -- three different ones, over the years, in different houses. Wait for them to go on sale, then get one of the models with "on-demand" regeneration (as opposed to using a timer). They use much less salt, and do a much better job of keeping the water at a more-or-less-uniform level of softness.
Reply to
Doug Miller
Amen.
I priced one recently for a friend - for the same capacity, $800 online compared to $4k from a local dealer. Tanks and control appeared identical. Local version claimed better media, but I couldn't find anything beyond advertising hype to back that up. The difference in price could be put towards more useful stuff, like diet pizza or magnetic gas savers. :-)
Wayne
Reply to
wmbjkREMOVE
You didn't say what died on the old softener but this may help:
My softener is a decent Sears unit originally put in service in 1976. My city water comes in at 85 psi and has some iron/clay sediment. The high pressure churns the grains, the sediment slowly poisons the resin. Every 10 years or so I tear the unit down, clean out the dirt residue out of the brine tank from the salt cubes, bring the resin tank in to have new resin installed, I'm good to go. They softener place charged me $85 for the resin if I installed it, $115 if they installed it. They have a upside down wash bed, takes them 10 minutes to flush and refill.
The refill place is about 60 miles from you,work could be done while you wait.
Karl Townsend wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
I'm sure the resin is shot. The machine goes through its cycles, water doesn't get soft. been getting worse slowly for years. The SO decided she was pissed, still good enough for me. Didn't know of this option, will they redo a Culligan and can you give me a name /number? if you'd rather email, karltownsendembarqmail.com replace the with @
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
My Kenetico is around 15 years old. I have heavy iron and iron bacteria. It still works well and has had very little maintenances in that time. A few plastic gears had to be replaced and having the service guy come out cost $120. The most expensive thing is buy the salt. Other systems that I had need new media every year. I came out in the long run.
Richard W.
Reply to
Richard W.
The Kinetico units are well designed, last a long time and minor adjustments are easily done.
If I were you, I'd do some shopping around for a used or gray market Kinetico. The Kinetico dealers can change the resin without replacing the whole unit.
Reply to
Jim Stewart
Here in the UK, we can get a permutit model from B& Q for =A3550 for a fully automatic unti that does the regeneration only as required. My folks had an earlier type that lasted over 30 years with no problems, including four house moves. I have recently installed a unit I bought from e-bay, also permutit.
Installation is very simple, all thats really required is a bit of basic plumbing knowledge and the place to put it Regards Good luck Dennis
Reply to
cycaduk
A lot depends on how hard your water is to start with and what's in it. If you're using well water that's got a lot of iron in it or other chemicals that need pre-treatment, it's going to get expensive. If you've just got moderately hard water, you can probably get by with a cheapy unit. My dad swapped three different units in his place, the first was a Sears that had the brine tank under pressure, required draining it, a wrench to get the lid off, lots of petroleum jelly to seal the O-ring on the lid and a giant funnel to get the salt into it. Not a lot of fun. Later ones were a lot easier, just a plastic bin to dump in the salt, not under pressure and no big strain to fill up, not like the 5' tank that the old one had. The second one got zapped by lightning, was cheaper to go get a new one than to replace the controller board. Lots more plastic parts on the newer ones, a lot more easily man-handled into place, too. The on-demand feature more than pays for itself. I think the last one wasn't more than two or three hundred bucks from the likes of Menard. He got smart that time and put in a surge protector on the outlet. Also put in a sediment filter on the input line to the thing, the place had iron pipes and stuff was always flaking off. Had to change the filter about every 4-5 months as they got filled up. 3 grand seems a little outrageous to me, you could go get 4 or 5 spares for that kind of cash outlay, change them every couple of years if you had to and be money ahead. Seems like '60s prices. Over the years, the basic technology is the same, but the controllers and construction keep getting cheaper to buy.
Stan
Reply to
stans4
Check with McKay in St. Paul.
Reply to
Don Foreman
A couple of years ago my Kinetico quit working. I got the resin replaced fairly cheaply and it's still going strong.
Bob S
Reply to
Bob Summers
Costco has one.
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don't know anything about it. $700 Karl
Reply to
kfvorwerk
Follow up. I ended up going to eBay for this unit
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My better half was NOT interested in repairing the old unit. "You just got a Plasma Cutter!" I can see that Plasma cutter is getting expensive. No sooner did I make this purchase than she pointed out we need a new front screen door. Repair was suggested, but not received as an option.
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
Home Depot has some nice wood screen doors for $49.
Reply to
Michael A. Terrell
That Fleck softener looks OK to me. I used to sell water softeners as a sideline many years ago. Ole Rice built them in his garage. I bought one from him so that made me a dealer. Much to my surprise, I sold a number of Ole's softeners over the years. He used Autotrol controllers. The one I have in my house is nearing 30 years of service, still workin' fine. Ole expired a decade ago.
Reply to
Don Foreman

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